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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ivy League Football Power Rankings (Final)


Penn closes out the season as champions with another perfect Ivy League record, and Harvard continued its dominance over Yale by winning the latest 127th playing of The Game, the last 9 of 10 overall. The season was full of surprises – the resurgence of Yale, the play of QB Sean Brackett at Columbia, the loss of Bears signal caller Newhall-Caballero early in the season – but there was no doubt that the Quakers have been the best team in conference. Last Saturday closes out another season of the Ancient Eight, and it seems like football season can’t return soon enough…

Penn (9-1, 7-0) – Since the 3rd week of the season (after Harvard’s loss to Brown), there was no doubt that Penn has been the most dominant team in the Ivy League this year. QB Billy Ragone and TB Jeff Jack, both underclassmen, formed a powerful combo, leading to the top offense in the conference; expect to see them harass Ivy League defenses for years to come. Defensively, no team seemed to match the pressure and havoc they created in the backfield; senior defensive backs Josh Powers and Drew Goldsmith will be sorely missed next season. I don’t know how the Quakers managed to end up with a negative TO margin, but expect head coach Al Bagnoli to address this issue in the offseason. Playing Penn at Franklin Field this year was the scariest place for a football team.

Harvard (7-3, 5-2) – Harvard continued its dominance of Yale by winning the 127th playing of The Game by a score of 28-21. Despite being limited by a stringent Bulldog defense, Harvard was able to capitalize on several special teams mistakes by Yale, with Iannuzi retuning from injury and also returning a kickoff 86 yards to start the second half. Overall, this has been a rollercoaster season for the Crimson; they started the season with a dominant performance against Holy Cross at home and ended the season similarly against Yale, but coming into season picked #1, Harvard has to be disappointed about some of their losses, including a “failure to launch” against Penn. Regardless, winning the last 9 out of 10 games over Yale is a testament to how consistent coach Tim Murphy and his football team are every year.

Yale (7-3, 5-2) – It’s amazing how much Yale has improved in its second year under head coach Tom Williams, winning three more games than previously and surprising many teams along the way. Captain Tom McCarthy was an anchor for the defensive line that paved the way for such an accomplishment, and his leadership/playmaking ability will be a big gap to fill. A loss to Harvard to end the season is de-motivating, but the Bulldogs have much to look forward next season, including the continued development of Patrick Witt, who has shown to be more than capable QB this year. One glaring weakness for the Bulldogs, however, has to be their special teams play, a very much important and momentum-shifting side of football.

Brown (6-4, 5-2) – Since the loss of QB Newhall-Caballero to a season-ending hand injury, Brown has been struggling to replicate its early season successes, which included a dominating victory over preseason favorite Harvard in Week 2. Good news is that Newhall-Caballero will be returning next season to lead the once-vaunted passing game of the bears. Joe Springer stepped up adequately in his place, and explosive playmaker Alex Tounkara created opportunities for the team throughout the year. They ended the season with a resounding victory over Columbia in which they scored 28 points in the first half alone. In addition, the Bears demonstrated that their offense is not one-dimensional, scoring three touchdowns on the ground. If Newhall-Caballero can return back to form, this is a scary team ready to pull some upsets next year.

Dartmouth (6-4, 3-4) – The sleeper pick of the season came close to pulling multiple upsets throughout the year, but fell short repeatedly. Surprisingly, they played the Quakers to overtime, but the Big Green was largely unable to create momentum in the season, never winning more than two games in a row. The best thing is that QB Connor Kempe and fearless TB Nick Schweigger are only juniors, leaving the core of the offense intact for next season, and imagining how they will contribute and improve next year is a scary thought. I have repeatedly declared that Dartmouth is the “best of the rest” and their improved record is a testament to this fact and a sign of better things to come.

Columbia (4-6, 2-5) – I don’t think there was anyone more exciting to watch than Sophomore QB Sean Brackett behind center. As the definition of dual-threat quarterback, the young signal caller singlehandedly willed his teams to victory throughout the season, including a five touchdown performance against Princeton. Alas, the lack of playmakers on offense and defense has led to another disappointing record for the Lions, but the future can’t be brighter. Deep-ball and endzone threat Andrew Kennedy often provided sparks, albeit inconsistent, and the running back committee provided much needed run support for Brackett. The Lions need to solidify a porous run defense and an inexperience secondary to compete with the likes of Harvard and Penn next season.

Cornell (2-8, 1-6) – Starting a true freshman at quarterback was a gutsy move by new head coach Kent Austin, but it seems like his gamble will payoff heavily next year when gunslinger Jeff Matthews brings a year of experience in the Cornell offense. Not a great year record wise, but they managed to avoid a winless season in conference play by dominating the Princeton Tigers at home. The defense had given up more than 30 points four times throughout the year, none more pronounced than a 7-41 drubbing by Wagner College at the season opener, but this is a very young team, and this season should provide a baseline on which to improve.

Princeton (1-9, 0-7) – The Tigers ended the season in a whimper, being shut out 31-0 by Dartmouth at home, and much like the entire season, Princeton’s offense was ineffective. After a successful campaign last year, Tommy Wornham played well as the signal caller for the Tigers, but the offensive line failed provide and protection and create holes for Jordan Culbreath and Matt Zimmerman. Senior WRs Trey Peacock and Andrew Kerr will leave gaping holes in terms of playmakers and offensive production, and allowing five TDs through the air will give the coaching staff much to think about in the offseason.

Until next year...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tune in to WHRB's coverage of Harvard - Yale!

Next for Harvard

Opponent: Yale Bulldogs
Date: Saturday, November 20th
Time: 12noon
Where: Harvard Stadium
Coverage: 95.3FM in Greater Boston area (listeners outside area may listen in to our online stream at whrb.org)

It's the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and that means one thing: Harvard is playing Yale. The 127th playing of The Game will take place in Cambridge, MA, at Harvard Stadium. Kickoff is at noon, and Scott Reed and Charlie Hobbs will be there to provide live commentary. Don't forget to tune in at 11:00 for an extended edition of the Harvard Pregame Show with James Yoon, Raafi Alidina, and Matt Patton

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harvard-Yale Pranks

The annual Harvard-Yale game traditionally invokes memories of sportsmanship and intensity as one of the oldest college rivalries in the United States. The lighter side of The Game’s mystique is the penchant of its participants to pull pranks. Students from Harvard, Yale, and even MIT have carried on these crazy pranks during the football game over the years.

The most widely known and recent of these pranks is Yale’s (“we suck”) prank in 2004. Led by Michael Kai and David Aulicino, a group of Yalies, disguised as the "Harvard Pep Squad," placed white and crimson placards in the central area of Harvard Stadium. The crowd was told that by lifting the placards they would spell "GO HARVARD." The placards were actually set to spell ("WE SUCK.") (something far different and far less complimentary). Viral videos of the prank spread across the sports world and even featured on ESPN. Another famous prank was in the pregame show of 1992. The Harvard marching band attempted to "X-out" the Yale Marching Band, which stood in its traditional Y formation during the show. However, plans leaked to the Yale band, and it quickly switched to form a large “H” for Harvard as the Harvard band walked out. In one of the more classless acts in The Game’s prank history, Yale painted on Widener Library in 1963 a graffiti that said “beat Harvard”

MIT has also intervened in the rivalry to make their presence known. In 1982, MIT students installed a black weather balloon full of talcum powder with MIT painted on it before the game. During the second quarter, the balloon exploded, showering the stadium with powder. In 1990, during the third quarter, MIT students fired a rocket which hung an MIT banner over the goal post.

Harvard has also done its part to participate. In 1933, the Harvard Lampoon kidnapped Handsome Dan II, Yale’s bulldog mascot, prior to The Game. In 1962, Harvard Band members marched through New Haven, playing their instruments at 3 a.m. much to the chagrin of the New Haven police.

The presence of these pranks has grown to be part of the The Game’s annual traditions. Even Princeton attempted to join the prank rivalry in their 2006 game against the Bulldogs by painting seats in the Yale Bowl orange and black, but, like with most Princeton activities, they run a distant third to the hijinks of the Game’s actual schools. The pranks continue to be one of the many hallmarks of the rivalry between Harvard and Yale. Spectators in Harvard Stadium today should be on the lookout for these famous attractions as they continue to fuel the rivalry between Harvard and Yale.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Photo-Blog: WHRB goes to Philadelphia, PA

This week WHRB went to Philadelphia, PA for the Harvard-Penn game. While the result on the field wasn't great, we hope we got some good photos.

Franklin Field and a Commuter rail station

The view from the press box

Color commentator Charlie Hobbs scores at the Palestra

Treavor Scales getting ready to take on Penn

The Crimson in warm-ups

The oh-so-intimidating Quaker mascot

Senior Day festivities at Franklin Field

First Quarter action

Can you spot the WHRB banner?

There it is!

Charlie Hobbs

That's Charlie on the left and myself, Scott Reed, on the right

Harvard and Yale in the Polls



It's Yale week of course, and here's a quick note about Harvard and Yale in the current polls. In the Sporting News FCS (formerly I-AA) Poll, both Harvard and Yale are in the "others receiving votes" category, with Yale receiving 54 votes and Harvard getting 7 votes. Link to poll

In the Sagarin Ratings, a power ranking system that ranks all teams in the FCS and FBS, ranks Harvard #164 and Yale #174. The Sagarin predictor, a method that helps simulate the point spread between two teams, would have Harvard winning by 2.17 points on a neutral field (+3 points for home field advantage, so Harvard would be predicted to win by about 5 points at the Stadium) Link to Sagarin

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Live Blogging Harvard vs. Holy Cross Home Opener

00:00: Harvard Crimson win big in their home opener, 72-49 final score. Harvard went 26;50 from the field and 14-17 from the line. Brandyn Curry was one of the team leaders, with a double double (12 assists, 10 points), and Keith Wright led the crimson in scoring (18 points, 6-8 FG, 6-7 FT). RJ Evans led the Crusaders, scoring 13 including 6 straight in the second half.

:45: Several Harvard freshmen make their debut as Harvard starters finally come out; 72-45 Crimson.

3:50: Brandyn Curry has 10 points and 11 assists on the night; also with 6 rebounds.

6:12 Keith Wright leads Harvard with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists; Oliver McNally and Christian Webster both have 10 points.

7:50: RJ Evans sends up consecutive lay-ups for the Crusaders. 4-0 run for HC. 57-31

9:31: Harvard Crimson have 31 rebounds to Holy Cross's 19; Crimson improve to 11-12 from the FT line, lead 57-27.

12:00: McNally comes out after a scary fall, is replaced by Brandyn Curry. Keith takes a long two, extends Harvard lead to 30 points. Keith is 4-6 on the day from the field, and 3-3 from the line.

13:37: Harvard calls a time out after 4-0 Crusaders run; Crimson still lead 49-22.

15:30 Curry converts the Crimson's second-consecutive 3-pointer. Crimson are 5-9 for the day beyond the arc. 44-16 Crimson. Balls continue to fail to fall for the Crusaders thanks to good defense from the Crimson.

17:45: Brandyn Curry has 7 assists, 3 rebounds, and 4 points.

18:50: Oliver McNally takes a two from the field, converts his 10th points of the night. He is 3-3 from the field, 34-14 Harvard over Holy Cross.

19:43: Keith Wright blocks a shot; his first, Crimson's fifth. Brandyn Curry called for a foul, his second.

------------------Second Half begins---------------------------

0:00: Curry narrowly misses a 3 at the buzzer; Crimson still lead 32-14 at the half. Ugo Okum leads the team with 6 points, including 2 slam dunks. Andrew van Nest and Oliver McNally closely trail with 5 a piece. Dudzinski leads the Crusaders in scoring, with 6 points.

0:27.8: Georgatos' second foul, Harvard's 8th. Goens heads to the line for the Crusaders, makes 1-2. 32-14 Crimson

2:03: Crusaders creep into double digits in turnovers with 10 on the evening.

3:11: Webster steal from Cavataio yields fast break for Curry; Holy Cross commits 7th foul of night on Curry's layup. Curry converts both, Crimson improve to 8-8 on the day from the FT line. 30-11 Crimson.

4:18: Back and forth play yields another slam dunk for Ugo Okum after a 2-point field goal from the Crusaders. First foul charged to Christian Webster, Harvard's sixth 28-11

6:23: Andrew van Nest pulls up and converts for 3; 26-9 Harvard.

7:15 Harvard Crimson offense looks to be cooling down, but defense continues to stay strong; only one point scored in almost four minutes (Holy Cross FT)

9:22: Stingy Crimson defense continues to generate fast-break opportunities...Crusaders commit fifth foul. Wright has two for the Crimson.

11:38: Timeout on the floor, Harvard leads 21-6. McNally makes three straight from the paint. Crimson are 7-9 from the field, including 2-2 from beyond the arc. Also 5-5 from the free-throw line. Holy Cross are 3-10 from the field, and have yet to take a FT.

------Change timekeeping to time remaining in half

7:18: 7'0 freshman Ugo Okum dunks on an alley-oop from Brandyn Curry; 16-4.

7:15: Keith Wright heads to the line for the Crimson for the first time of the night. Wright converts both; Harvard leads 12-2. Ugo Okum, freshman, comes in for the first time of the night. Crusaders fall to 1-9 from the field on three consecutive blocks by Ugo Okum. Laurent Rivard makes his first points at Lavietes. Crimson lead 14-2.

7:10 PM: Harvard improves to 3-5 from the field, including 2-2 beyond the arc with 4 minutes expired; Crimson lead 8-2

7:07 PM: With 18:45 remaining in the first half, the Harvard Crimson strike first on a 3-pointer from Junior Oliver McNally, 3-0 Crimson.

7:05 PM--After the introduction of Harvard's starting five, the Crimson get ready to tip off their first home game and second of the season against in-state rival the Holy Cross Crusaders.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tune in to WHRB's coverage of Harvard Men’s Basketball vs. Holy Cross

Opponent: Holy Cross Crusaders
Date: Wednesday, November 17th
Time: 7 PM
Where: Lavietes Pavillion
Coverage: WHRB 95.3FM in Greater Boston Area (listeners outside area can tune in to online stream at whrb.org)


The Harvard men’s basketball team inaugurate its first home game of the 2010-2011 season with a showdown against the Holy Cross Crusaders at Lavietes Pavillion. Harvard looks to build on last year’s successful campaign in which they finished 21-8, capped by a postseason appearance at the Collegeinsider.com Tournament.

Reigning ivy league rookie of the year Kyle Casey is still recovering from a foot injury sustained in the preseason and the do-it-all player Jeremy Lin has joined the NBA, but the Crimson return great cast of players including a veteran core of juniors Keith Wright, Oliver McNally, and Andrew Van Nest. Harvard also welcomes 6 new freshmen into the lineup, none more hyped than Ugo Okam, a 7 foot center from Florida who will be expected to contribute on both offense and defense right away. Expectations couldn’t be higher for Coach Tommy Amaker and his team, and even though the Crimson began the season with a loss to George Mason, 66-53, an Ivy League title has never been closer for Harvard. Tip off is at 7 PM as Scott Reed and James Yoon will have the call to start the very first home game of the season as the Men’s Basketball team begin their quest for an NCAA birth.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Three Keys to Beating the Penn Quakers

Although Penn (18/19) was ranked second in the Ivy Preseason polls, their play through the first 8 games of the 2010 season has been worthy of their current number one ranking. 7-1 overall, and undefeated in the Ivies through five games, the Fighting Quakers come into tomorrow’s contest a 9-point favorite in the Sagarin Ratings. That being said, Harvard found itself repeatedly battling with injuries throughout the early part of the season--including during the game against the Brown Bears in which the Crimson suffered their only Ivy League loss of the year to date—and are looking much sharper now than at any other point in the season. So here are three key things that the Harvard Crimson can do to dampen the Quakers hopes of a repeat solo Ivy League Championship.

1. CONTINUE TO STOP THE RUN. Irrespective of the game or the number of injuries that were piling up at other positions, the Crimson have consistently dominated when the other team has tried to run the ball. Opponents are averaging only 85.6 total Yards per Game on the ground against the stingy Crimson defense. Encouragingly, this trend continued even against Dartmouth’s Nick Schweiger, who is—along with Gino Gordon—one of the Ivy League’s leading rushers, and yet who was only able to rush for 69 yards against the Crimson two weeks ago. It is going to be essential that Harvard maintains this form tomorrow against Penn, who are averaging 241 yards per game on the ground, including a 396-yard effort last week in a 52-10 rout of the Princeton Tigers.

2. FORCE TURNOVERS. One of the few statistical categories in which the Crimson clearly outrank the Quakers is that of turnovers. The Penn Quakers have fumbled the ball away 7 times this season, compared to only 2 for Harvard. Harvard also leads the Ivies in interceptions with 13 (1.6/game), compared to only 6 for the Quakers. Harvard saw a couple of key Lions turnovers last week help them to establish a commanding lead against Columbia, and to create (and convert) similar opportunities against Penn will go a long way towards putting the Crimson over the top.

3. TAKE THE EARLY LEAD. Franklin Field has, in recent history, been a very unfriendly confine for Harvard; the Crimson have only managed a single win in Philadelphia since 1980 (that one win came in a 31-10 effort in 2004). Scoring early will help to de-energize what is sure to be a large and boisterous home crowd eager to see their Quakers’ final home contest and a de facto Ivy League championship game. Putting points up early also means that, come later in the game, the Crimson will be less likely to have to cobble together desparation drives against a Penn defense that leads the Ivy League in just about every statistical category, including PPG (15.5) and opponent’s total offense (265.2 YPG).

Other things to Watch:

Penn Run Defense—The Penn Quakers are even better than Harvard Crimson against the run, allowing only an average of 65.2 yards per game, compared to Harvard’s (still impressive) 85.6 Opponents YPG.

Points per Game—only .8 PPG separates these two teams: 28.9 for Harvard, and 28.1 for Penn. Opponents’ PPG’s are equally close: Harvard averages 16.5 PPG allowed, while Penn lets up 15.5.

Tune in to WHRB's coverage of Harvard vs.Penn



Next for Harvard:

Opponent: Penn Quakers
Date: Saturday, November 13th
Time: 1:30pm
Where: Franklin Field, Philadelphia, PA
Coverage: 95.3FM in Greater Boston Area (listeners outside area can tune in to online stream at whrb.org)

It doesn't get much bigger than the two games the Harvard Crimson have to close out their 2010 slate: before the always-dramatic matchup with Yale next week, Harvard has a shot at first-place in the Ivy League this weekend in a showdown with the Penn Quakers in Philadelphia. Here is how the three teams left with a shot at the Ivy League title stand:

1. Penn 5-0 (7-1 overall)
T-2. Harvard 4-1 (6-2 overall)
T-2. Yale 4-1 (6-2 overall)

If Harvard loses this week, the Crimson are eliminated from a shot at the Ivy crown. A win would put Harvard in prime position.

Here are the scenarios:
Penn wins, Yale loses - Penn wins Ivy title
Penn wins, Yale wins - Penn clinches at least shared title, Yale can win other half if they beat Harvard + Penn loses to Cornell.
Harvard wins, Yale loses - Harvard one win from clinching share of title with Penn, Yale eliminated.
Harvard wins, Yale wins - winner of Harvard/Yale gets at least share of title, Penn must beat Cornell to grab other share.

Be sure to tune in to WHRB's coverage of Harvard/Penn. Kickoff is at 1:30, and Scott Reed and Charlie Hobbs will be there to provide live commentary. Don't forget to tune in at 1:00 for the Harvard Pregame Show with James Yoon and Raafi Alidina.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tim Murphy and Penn

"It always comes down to Penn." Harvard head coach Tim Murphy has said this in the past about the yearly matchup between the Crimson and the Penn Quakers. Murphy made a point of saying in this week's interview with WHRB that Penn is usually the team that the Crimson have to knock off every year if they want to win the Ivy League. It is true that recent Ivy League history shows that the Ancient Eight champions reside in either Cambridge or Philadelphia more often than not: in the 16 previous years in which Coach Murphy has coached the Crimson, either Harvard or Penn has won or shared the Ivy title 11 times (6 Penn, 5 Harvard). Penn is the only Ivy team that Murphy's teams have not dominated.

Here are Coach Tim Murphy's records against Ivy Opponents

Team Harvard's Record under Murphy
Brown 10-7
Columbia 13-4
Cornell 11-6
Dartmouth 14-3
Penn 6-10
Princeton 13-4
Yale 11-5

Monday, November 8, 2010

Photo-Blog: WHRB goes to Hanover, NH (and returns home for the Columbia game)

It's a double-dose of WHRB's photo-blog this week as we bring you pictures from Harvard's wins over Dartmouth and Columbia.

Well that was nice of them...


The Harvard band made the trip to Hanover.


A sign commemorating Memorial Field, Dartmouth's home venue.


Punter Jacob Dombrowski warms up before the game. Don't worry, Harvard didn't have to use him much.


Dartmouth brought in temporary bleachers to fill the endzones, as it was homecoming.


The press box at Memorial Field.


The teams huddle before the opening kick.


That's Charlie Hobbs on the left and myself Scott Reed on the right.


We stopped by Thompson Arena, the home of the ice hockey team.


The Dartmouth Charter. It mentions something about not getting beaten down by Harvard. Woops.


Hey! A shout out on the video board at Harvard Stadium.


The Columbia band.


The Harvard band gets a little "Loko" at halftime.


The organized chaos of the radio booth.


Collier Winters, Gino Gordon, and Co.


Senior Linebacker and Kicking-A-Touchdown host Nick Hasselberg warms up.

Thoughts from the Booth: Crimson Take Care of Columbia, Set Up Showdown in Philly

The Harvard Crimson faced a tough test on Saturday, and not just due to the talent of the Columbia Lions: with two monster games looming against Penn and Yale, the danger was very real that Harvard would look past Columbia. This didn’t happen, however, due in large part to a Crimson defense that forced four Columbia turnovers. Harvard would defeat the Lions handily by the score of 23-7 after an initially slow start. Lion Sophomore quarterback Sean Brackett had a productive day through the air, throwing for 284 yards on 26-45 passing. The Crimson secondary wsa able to pick him off twice, though, with Alex Gedeon’s interception coming when the Lions were inside the Harvard ten yard line.

The Harvard offense looked relatively sluggish in victory, as it didn’t have quite the success, at least early on, that it has had in recent games. The Crimson were locked in a scoreless tie with Columbia until midway through the second quarter and seemed unable to find a rhythm until late in the first half. Once he got going, quarterback Collier Winters was effective through the air, throwing for 246 yards and completing 25 of his 38 passes. Gino Gordon had another 100 yard day but didn’t have the explosive ability that he’s had for much of the year, as his longest gain of the day was only 13 yards.

The Crimson offense still gained 412 total yards, however, and they did enough to ensure a Harvard victory. The win sets up a dramatic final two games, starting with a crucial matchup with the Penn Quakers this coming Saturday. Penn and Yale join Harvard at the top of the Ivy League, and the Crimson will get a shot at both in these final two weeks of the season. Looking towards this weekend, Harvard will have its hands full with a juggernaut Quaker team, fresh off of a 52-10 beat down of the Princeton Tigers. Penn coach Al Bagnoli has his team rolling, with their only loss this season coming against 9th-ranked Villanova. The Crimson will have to tighten things up to come out of Franklin Field with a victory. Freshman kicker David Mothander must have a better performance than his 1 for 3 showing against Columbia (and linebacker Alex Gedeon must have another good day punting the ball). Gino Gordon has to put this team on his back, and Collier Winters needs to show everyone why he was picked as the preseason Ivy Offensive Player of the Year. All of these things have to happen if Harvard is to knock off Penn and take a big step in the Ivy League standings.

Ivy League Football Power Rankings (Week 9)

Football is entering its final two weeks, and life without Ivy League football is looming ahead for fans and players alike. However, the race to the league championship has never been more tighter, with Penn, Harvard, and Yale all vying to be the champion of the Ancient Eight. Penn leads the pack with an impressive deconstruction of Princeton, but Harvard and Yale have also notched impressive wins over the weekend, setting up the highly anticipated Harvard v. Penn II. The saga continues…

Penn (6-1, 4-0) – The Quakers offense, which has often been overlooked for its defense, proved that Penn is not an one-dimensional team with a 52-10 romping over Princeton last weekend. Penn scored 4 TDs on the first quarter alone, reinforcing the Tigers’ place in the Ivy League hierarchy. QB Billy Ragone is playing phenomenally, but has not faced a great defense quite yet. Their undefeated league record is on the line against the upset-minded Crimson next week. I found out that the Penn Quakers football team is the reason why Waldo is hiding…
NEXT GAME: vs. Harvard

Harvard (6-2, 4-1) – Despite the early loss to Brown to start the season, Harvard is on track to possibly capture/share the Ivy League crown next weekend against Penn. Like last year, this game has championship implications, but the Crimson enter this time as the underdog. Or are they? This is not the team that came in the season favored to win the conference, but with Collier Winters returning to form, the running game steamrolling, and the defense picking out passes like apples, next week is going to be a battle between two closely matched teams. The Ivy League titles is on the line for Harvard
NEXT GAME: vs. Penn

Yale (6-2, 4-1) – A surprise, dark horse candidate for the Ivy league crown is coming off a thrilling upset over Brown and has improved dramatically from last season. Head coach Tom Williams’ sophomore campaign is aided by the play of Patrick Witt and his poise in pressure situations. Can there be any doubt that Yale is back?
NEXT GAME: vs. Princeton

Brown (4-4, 3-2) – Providence, we (might) have a problem. The free-falling Bears need to find some semblance of consistency in the running game, and the defense is reeling after two straight losses. The upset by Yale hurts their title chances, but since the injury to QB Newhall-Caballero, Brown has not looked like the dominant team that bulldozed over the Crimson in week 2. With the streaking Big Green looming ahead, the Bears need to win out to have a shot at the diminishing chance for the conference title.
NEXT GAME: vs. Dartmouth

Dartmouth (5-3, 2-3) – The Big Green were a little bit larger than the Big Red. Nick Schweigger is having a career season, most recently capped by a 146 yard 2 TD performance against the Big Red, and the defense seems to be carrying some momentum with 10 sacks and limited Cornell to just 188 yards. The nationally-televised Brown game will be a testament to how much they have progressed throughout the season. All eyes will be on PoY candidate Schweigger to set the tone early on against a porous Brown defensive line.
NEXT GAME: vs. Brown

Columbia (3-5, 1-4) – Sean Brackett is only a sophomore, but he has been single handedly driving this Lions offense, both passing and rushing. It is scary to realize that he has two more year of eligibility, but without a supporting cast, the team is bound for mediocrity. Playmakers like Kurt Williams have the talent but have had inconsistent production throughout the season. They finally return to Pride Rock, where they have a 3-1 record, next week to host the Big Red.
NEXT GAME: vs. Cornell

Cornell (2-6, 1-4) – Cornell, again, gets a thumbs up in my book for having the best hospitality in the Ivy League. Once they develop some appearance of a running game, providing some relief to freshman QB Jeff Matthews, I think the offense can truly start to roll. In addition, the offensive line needs to do its job if they want to see Matthews survive the season; 10 sacks a truly depressing figure. Utility man Luke Tasker has been one of the bright sports thus far, offering sparks on the offense.
NEXT GAME: vs. Columbia.

Princeton (1-6, 0-4) – The idea of an undefeated conference season is a legitimate threat for the Tigers, and unlike the NFL where teams can look forward to a high draft pick, Princeton does not have such luxuries. The thrashing against Penn must have been crippling to the morale. Being motivated for the rest of the season will be as important as their play on the field.
NEXT GAME: vs. Yale

My Weekend “4 the Win”
Harvard 24 – Penn 21
Dartmouth 17 – Brown 7 (UPSET SPECIAL OF THE WEEK)
Yale 33 – Princeton 14
Columbia 28 – Cornell 10

Record: 7-1 since Week 7

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tune in to WHRB's coverage of Harvard vs. Columbia

Next for Harvard

Opponent: Columbia Lions
Date: Today, November 6th
Time: 12 noon
Where: Harvard Stadium
Coverage: WHRB 95.3FM in Greater Boston Area (listeners outside area can tune in to online stream at whrb.org)

It's a big game for the Crimson today as they take on the Columbia Lions in a pivotal Ivy contest. Kickoff is at noon as Scott Reed and Charlie Hobbs will have the call.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tune In to WHRB For Harvard Hockey vs. Union/RPI

The Particulars:
Opponents: No. 15 Union (Friday) and No. 18 RPI (Saturday)
Dates: November 5th and November 6th
Time: 7 p.m. (Pregame coverage beginning at 6:45 p.m.)
Where: Bright Hockey Center, Allston, MA
Coverage: 95.3 FM WHRB (Boston-area) and WHRB.org (Around the World)
Broadcasters: Brendan Roche (play by play) and Raafi Alidina (color commentary)

Harvard hockey begins its 111th season with this home opening weekend vs. two of the top teams in the ECAC. Last season, Harvard swept the Dutchmen in league play, while they lost the season series 0-1-1 to RPI, with the loss coming at the Bright. Now, the Crimson hope to jump start their ECAC campaign by picking up wins over both of these teams.

Friday: Harvard (0-0-0, 0-0-0) vs. #15 Union College Dutchmen (5-1-2, 0-0-0)
Join us for the pregame show beginning at 6:45 p.m. as we'll have highlights from an interview with head coach Ted Donato. In the first intermission, we'll air part one of the first episode of Top Shelf, with Kyle Richter and Eric Kroshus. Discussion will include Monday's exhibition, and the promotional efforts surrounding this opening weekend. In the second intermission, Schenectady Daily Gazette writer Ken Schott joins us in a prerecorded interview to discuss the Capital District teams and the ECAC.

Saturday: Harvard (0-0-0, 0-0-0) vs. #18 RPI Engineers (3-1-3, 0-0-0)
After opening up against Dartmouth, RPI skates into the Bright Center to continue their ECAC opening weekend. We'll have clips from Harvard's postgame press conference from Friday night during the pregame show. In the first intermission, we'll have the second part of our first episode of Top Shelf as the discussion turns to Halloween, warmup songs, and goal horns. In the second intermission, Brendan and Raafi will provide stats and analysis from the game.

View From the Booth: Men's Hockey vs. Sweden U-20

On Monday night, the Harvard Crimson skated in an exhibition game against The Swedish Junior National Team. The result, a 2-1 win for the Swedes, still was a good one for the Crimson. (Sweden lost to Merrimack at 12 noon on Tuesday, a 4-1 L. They play D-III Williams College tonight at 7pm, and UMass on Saturday at noon) Here's my take from the game.

1. If I have to pick just one thing clicking for the Crimson, it has to be their forecheck. Harvard did a great jump of pinning Team Sweden in their own zone for stretches of the game, particularly in a first period where the Crimson outshot Sweden 15-5. Harvard played aggressively and won the battles in the corners. Harvard's lone goal came as the result of a turnover just outside the Swedish blue line, forced by the pressure the Crimson applied in the zone.

2. On the opposite side, the glaring negative for right now has to be the power play. This is not too worrisome because it's early in the season and the PP needs time to figure itself out. On the other hand, Harvard's power play never really got going last season after a slow start either, with the Crimson converting 17% of their chances, good for 39th in the country. In this game, the Crimson were 0-9, though some PPs were abbreviated, but 0 goals and 8 shots in 16:33 of PP time isn't going to cut it. Harvard's first PP unit (Killorn, M. Biega, Moriarty up front, Morrison and D.Biega on the point) generated some pressure, particularly in the 3rd. Harvard did not show a 2nd PP unit though, with Coach Donato just cycling his lines to see who would earn PP time. A good PP could be a boon on Saturday- RPI is averaging 15.4 PIM/game.

Below the jump, I have the rest of my five thoughts, the lines from Monday, and an audio game recap.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Men's Hockey: Coach Ted Donato Previews Opening Weekend

This afternoon, I sat down with head coach Ted Donato to talk about the game on Monday vs. Team Sweden, and this weekend's series vs. the Capital District teams of Union and RPI. Thanks to Casey Hart of GoCrimson.com, here's a video showing part of that interview. You can hear more from Coach Donato during the pregame show of tomorrow's broadcast.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Harvard Men's Hockey Preview: General Overview

The following article, written by WHRB's Brendan Roche, originally appeared in the print edition of the Harvard Independent.


After two disappointing nine win seasons, the Harvard Crimson men’s hockey team will be looking to make it to Atlantic City for the ECAC Championship and try to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament. Around the league, the coaches and media do not favor the Crimson’s chances, as Harvard was picked to finish 7th by the league’s coaches and 10th by the ECAC Media Writers and Broadcasters. The Crimson certainly have some question marks surrounding them, but experience combined with the across-the-board drop in talent afflicting the ECAC this season gives Crimson faithful a reason to be optimistic.
(Editor's Note: The remainder of the article follows after the jump.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tune in to GoCrimson.com for the Men's Hockey Exhibition vs. Team Sweden U-20

Opponent: Swedish Under 20 Team
Date: November 1, 2010
Time: 7 p.m. (Pregame coverage beginning at 6:50 p.m.)
Where: Bright Hockey Center, Allston, MA
Coverage: GoCrimson.com
Broadcasters: Brendan Roche (play-by-play) and Raafi Alidina (color commentary)

The 2010-11 men's hockey season gets underway this weekend, but the first test for the Crimson comes in the form of an exhibition game against the Swedish U-20 team. Harvard will be trying to put the last touches on their preseason as they await a home weekend series with ECAC foes Union and RPI. The junior Tre Kronor squad, meanwhile, is touring Boston, facing Harvard tonight, Merrimack tomorrow, and Williams and UMass later in the week, in preparation for the World Junior Championships in December. Tune in to the game on GoCrimson.com for all the action, plus the pilot episode of the 7th season of Top Shelf, to be played during the intermissions.

Ivy League Football Power Rankings (Week 8)

This week featured two Ivy League unbeatens clashing at Pennsylvania with championship implications (followed by Princeton facing off against Cornell for the possible right to finish the season winless in the conference). Again, Penn stands at the top of the mountain with a dominating performance over the Bears. However, the Harvard Crimson are steamrolling their opponents, setting up an anticipated showdown against Penn in two weeks. Lots of tricks and treats from the Halloween weekend in the Ivy League, and much to look forward to in the coming weeks…

Penn (6-1, 4-0) – Peerless Penn once again proved to be alpha male of the Ivy League herd with a all-to-easy performance against the Brown Bears. Can anyone stop this team from winning? Harvard is breathing down their necks, eager to avenge last year’s de-facto championship game at Cambridge. I head that when the Boogeyman goes to sleep at night, he checks the closet and under his bed for the Penn Quakers. They will push full team ahead against the visiting Tigers to create the “defeated vs. undefeated” bowl. I would advise them to avoid the trap game, but…
NEXT GAME: vs. Princeton

Harvard (5-2, 3-1) – Harvard now control their destiny with Brown’s loss to the Quakers. With a renewed passing offense lead by preseason Ivy League POY Collier Winters and a fast defense lead by Collin Zych, the team is picking up where it left off last season. Head Coach Tim Murphy unleashed the collar from Winters, resulting in 3 touchdowns from the quarterback. The momentum needs to continue against Columbia, and all problems must be fixed heading into Quaker territory. How the defense responds to Lions QB Sean Brackett will be pivotal.
NEXT GAME: vs. Columbia

Yale (5-2, 3-1) – What a bipolar performance from the Bulldogs in a bipolar game. Yale built up a 31-17 lead in the first half only to see it slowly dwindle in the second; Patrick Witt continued his fast development and threw three TD passes to round out the day. One star to look out for is freshman WR Cameron Sandquist, who caught 2 TD passes and showed great agility and separation from defenders. Quietly, Yale stands in the league with only one conference loss, and, I’m sure, is also cheering on Harvard to win against Penn. Should we change the conference name to Ivy Parity League?
NEXT GAME: vs. Brown

Brown (4-3, 3-1) – Newhall-Caballero was solely missed last Saturday, and the vaunted passing attack faltered. Is Brown imploding or are they being exposed as a weak 3-1 team? Despite the loss to the Quakers, Brown is still in great position to at least share the Ivy League crown. They will need to do some score watching and hope that Harvard pulls off the upset at Penn. Of course, they also need to win every game, and the surprisingly proficient Yale marches in for a knockout punch. Hibernation season is far away, but the Bears must be on guard.
NEXT GAME: vs. Yale

Dartmouth (4-3, 1-3) – The Big Green forced Harvard to win the game through the legs and arms of Collier Winters, and the gamble was a costly one as Winters burned the Big Green like a shining star. I still think they are the best 1-3 team in the conference, but I swear if they lose to Cornell next Saturday, I will disown them as my sleeper pick of the year. Hopefully, the promise and talent found at Dartmouth can translate to the ever-elusive wins for the Big Green.
NEXT GAME: vs. Cornell

Columbia (3-4, 1-3) – The cowardly lions must salvage what was once a promising season with a 3-1 start. Sean Brackett once again proved that he deserves consideration as the best QB in the Ivy League by throwing for 4 TD passes but his costly interceptions ultimately doomed Columbia. Even worse, they have to visit Cambridge to face a menacing Crimson defense, which notched 3 interceptions against Dartmouth. 4 straight losses are not out of the cards. The two sequels to the Lion King were nowhere nearly as good as the first. Columbia needs to avoid a similar outcome for their season.
NEXT GAME: vs. Harvard

Cornell (2-5, 1-3) – Cornell, again, gets a thumbs up in my book for having the best hospitality in the Ivy League. The defense won the game for the Big Red with CB Emani Fenton having a career day, capped by an interception with 23 seconds left in the game to seal the deal. Freshmen starting QB Jeff Matthews also had an impressive outing, notching over 200 yards passing and two touchdowns. I think the holidays are coming early for Cornell as the Big Red clash against the Big Green in a battle of the large Christmas colors. I’m sure they are rolling out the season’s greetings cards at the School of Hotel Management.
NEXT GAME: vs. Dartmouth.

Princeton (1-6, 0-4) – In a season already marred by miscues and turnovers, Princeton got a rude reminder on Saturday that they could be the worst team in the Ivy League. Even worse, an 0-5 start in the conference looms ahead with the Quakers ready to eat the tigers that roam Jersey Shore. I think Trey Peacock, the veteran and super productive WR, is the only bright spot for the team. Maybe they should host a reality TV show modeled after Jersey Shore called Jersey Football to spice up the season.
NEXT GAME: vs. Penn

My Weekend “4 the Win”

Harvard 33 – Columbia 14
Dartmouth 28 – Cornell 7
Penn 35 – Princeton 6
Yale 21 – Brown 18 (UPSET SPECIAL OF THE WEEK)